Brink of the Boulevard

From the décor to the dishes, 1 Boulevard leaves us with mixed feelings

Metal chains hanging from the steel-and-cement ceilings welcome us into 1 Boulevard, a restaurant-café behind Select Citywalk, Saket. The walls are glowing with block letter words like "Rediscover, Regenerate, Regain" and from the floor, a Vin Diesel-like bald man is posing as if emerging from water. For a minute, we are confused — is this a place to dine, or to work out? They tell us that it's inspired by the latest bistros in New York.

Projection screens cover the remaining space on the walls, and there is a crowd fixated on the IPL. Various seating areas are separated by wooden blocks and chains which can accommodate 100. We sit at one corner on big brown leather grandfather chairs, which aids neither conversation nor eating, but are definitely good for a short nap before the meal arrives. Despite having an extensive menu, which is also the same for its older branch 1 Café and Bar next door, not many drinks are available at 1 Boulevard. Barely a month old, this restaurant is still fine-tuning its menu and changing items daily. The service is a little uncoordinated and multiple servers have to be informed about preferences.

Eager to start, we order the Herb Chicken Bruschetta (Rs 275), which comes in a hefty portion size. The chicken is finely cubed, the tomatoes are fresh and the seasoning is flavourful and sparse — but it is all drowning in olive oil on very stiff bread, which leaves a salty aftertaste. Next, we get Penne with Garlic Prawns (Rs 345) in a creamy white sauce with garlic bread. The medium-sized prawns go well with the creaminess, and the penne is wholesome.

We are quite content with the meal so far, but disappointed when our grilled lamb chops (Rs 325) arrive. It is drenched in what tastes like ready-made gravy, and not cooked to our liking. It is too rubbery and not easy to chew. Our server says this is how they serve their "medium rare" grilled meats, despite no indication on the menu, and offers to get it redone. The second plate of lamb chops is no better — the gravy tastes like the residue of the first plate with added salt, and the lamb is too dry and rubbery for comfort. Disheartened, we send it back, and leave without trying the dessert.

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